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Robert G. Smits

1970 Chevelle SS, Real or Clone!!

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Helping a friend trying to purchase a 70 Chevelle SS.  No build sheet or Protect O Plate. Does have the "L" in the seventh slot on the vin.   Original block and automatic  have been replaced.  Vintage air has been added along with a later OD transmission.    Extremely nice car driven less than 500 miles since off frame restoration.  Asking price $43K.    Does the lack of documentation reduce the value.  I will try to add photos   Thanks

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1970 Chevelles are among the hardest to prove and are the most often faked, but that doesn't make undocumented cars bad cars to own. Since it's NOM and has no paperwork, it's best to assume it's a clone. The only thing you can do is grade it on quality. If your friend likes the car and can afford the asking price, then he should get it and enjoy it as intended. If he's looking for an investment or some way to "protect" his purchase, well, there's no guarantee on a non-pedigree car. The fact that it has A/C and an overdrive transmission should make it a nice cruiser, the colors are good, but it's a regular car, not an investment. There is certainly a discount for a non-SS, but at this price point, you're getting the car for free and the restoration for half price. I've sold similar cars for about that figure, so it's not out of line for a non-matching made-up car. Just call it a win and have fun and let the future value and pedigrees and investments go fly a kite.

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Had one exactly like this, except it was a 4-speed. It certainly looks like a well done restoration. If the replacement engine is a 396 c.i. and turbo hydromatic tranny then it is a least close to spec.

At $43K the reduced value has already been taken into account. Totally restored and documented original versions are six figures easily. 

If it was my auto, I would make it as close to original specs as possible and would enjoy the ride. JMHO. 

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What documentation are you referring to? Documents to tell you that the car is missing the original engine and transmission and an aftermarket A.C. was added, with missing build sheet and Protect-O Plate? Documentation is used to prove the car has all the equipment that it left the factory with and to verify all the numbers match. Yes it's a nice modified car, that's it.

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1 hour ago, Robert G. Smits said:

Helping a friend trying to purchase a 70 Chevelle SS.  No build sheet or Protect O Plate. Does have the "L" in the seventh slot on the vin.   Original block and automatic  have been replaced.  Vintage air has been added along with a later OD transmission.    Extremely nice car driven less than 500 miles since off frame restoration.  Asking price $43K.    Does the lack of documentation reduce the value.  I will try to add photos   Thanks

 

" Does the lack of documentation reduce the value"

 

Of course it does.   Any Chevrolet, Chevelle , Camaro, Corvette, with" correct papers", means a lot to potential buyers.  

 

With every Hi-Po GM car, and others too; one of the first things the buyer asks, Let me see the documentation. Buyers really research these cars.

 

intimeold

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Historically you were always better off with a "lesser" but real car, i.e. paperwork, matching major components, ownership history, etc.

 

There are a number of guys (or a guy - just me)  that have zero interest in put together car.

 

Usually  I would defer to Matt who would know the market better than I,  but 43k feels like a lot of money for something made up.

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At $43k, I  think you could find a pretty decent real documented one. If your friend liked a nicely restored car that looks like a real SS, & has that kind of money to spend, then he should buy it.

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3 hours ago, caddyshack said:

 Totally restored and documented original versions are six figures easily. 

 

Where did you come up with that figure? A little over two years ago (11-17) I bought a '70 Chevelle SS 396 that the seller had just finished a 3 year body off frame restoration on. He had both the build sheet and protecto plate confirming that it was a real SS. I paid $51k for it and sold it 15 months later for $55k to a classic car dealer in Michigan who resold it a month later priced at $74,900. The dealer had at least a dozen other restored Chevelles and none of them were priced at $100k or higher....

PICT0013.JPG

 

Edited by Lebowski (see edit history)
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Regardless of year, the newer, younger and educated  collector requires rock solid proof of authenticity and provenance..........as the market continues to change and evolve........many times in ways difficult to predict............the cars over time that will offer the best value, and long term security for desirability of resale will be cars that have documented histories.  Quality NEVER goes out of style. From the supply and demand standpoint clone, tribute, modified, and cars that can’t be documented will always be in greater supply, and more difficult to sell. As mentioned elsewhere in this post, more often than not, a good, solid, and correct car can often be bought for not much more than a “replica” or tribute car.

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I see this Chevelle has the round nacelles for the gauges...which Malibu "plain Jane" Chevelles did not. (They had one rectangular clear lens over the entire gauge cluster). So this helps...BUT, the dash insert is readily changed. And all Monte Carlo models of that era used the same round-nacelle-gauge dash (albeit covered with a woodgrained steel panel), which made that a common switch-over. I have found "SS" Chevelles with the "correct" round gauge dash panel, but upon close examination was able to spot evidence of the tiny slotted holes in the dash insert where the tabs from the Monte Carlo metal cover had once been. 

 

Chevelles were manufactured in 5 different assembly plants. My own LS-6 454 SS was manufactured in Atlanta, and I learned that build sheets are often found under the sound deadener of those cars. I dug around and eventually found my build sheet, even though the seller had failed to find it himself. The point is that SOMETIMES you can eventually find a build sheet, even if it has not been found before. Proof that it was born as an SS 396 or SS 454 model will add some appeal to the car, even if the motor and trans are long gone. 

 

An amazing amount of components on a 1970 Chevelle bear date codes and/or assembly codes. Sometimes you can find several components that have matching date codes, which will also match the build date on your trim tag. This can help a bit, in trying to determine what the car was originally. 

 

But in the end, the best evidence in this case may be to try and find a line of previous owners, and keep digging till you find someone who can give you definitive answers on what this car was like when it left the factory. But you should face the reality that the percentages of success in this are very, very low. 

 

In spite of all this I have said...the advise Matt gave you is very good. Listen to it. The only thing I will add is that I do not see SS 396 Chevelles bringing six figures at all...not even the best restored documented cars...unless they are L-78 cars or convertibles....or both. 

 

 

build sheet 014.jpg

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6 hours ago, Robert G. Smits said:

Helping a friend trying to purchase a 70 Chevelle SS.  No build sheet or Protect O Plate. Does have the "L" in the seventh slot on the vin.   Original block and automatic  have been replaced.  Vintage air has been added along with a later OD transmission.    Extremely nice car driven less than 500 miles since off frame restoration.  Asking price $43K.    Does the lack of documentation reduce the value.  I will try to add photos   Thanks

 

Documentation of what?  If by receipts for work done and parts purchased, that's one thing, but I don't otherwise understand what you mean or want by "documentation" of a modified car.  The subject Chevelle looks like a really nice car, but I think that it is a bit over-priced.  I'm a satisfied owner of a 1968 SS Chevelle, and although it is a "138" code (real SS) car, neither the engine, transmission nor rear end are correct for the car.  With that said, it is a great looking car and a real pleasure to drive.  Other than their looks, I wasn't much of a Chevelle fan until I was able to buy and drive one.  I'm now definitely a Chevelle fan.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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I have always wanted to replace my mom's Chevelle for her, but it seems like they've all been turned into SS clones. Even the 4-doors like she had!  She lost her Chevelle thirty years ago this year and still talks about it. Often, like every time we see a blue one at a car show. 

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Hi Rob,

              Rolling down the highway at 60 mph, nobody can tell if the numbers match or not.

Looks like it has all the right SS stuff on board, whether it's original or added like lump pointed out, probably doesn't make much difference at this point.

Very desirable year and a good looking car (except for the hideous tail pipe extensions) so I'm sure it will find a home.

Price? I don't know. It all comes down to how much a particular person wants this particular car. The collector/numbers guys won't be players for it, so that shouldn't have any effect positive or negative on this one.

To compare, last year I sold a real deal 1968 Firebird 400 4 speed, rotisserie restoration and documented numbers matching drive train, right down to the carb, alternator and starter for $40K. So personally, I think $40+ K for this Chevelle looks a bit high, but that doesn't mean it won't bring it.

Good luck either way, Greg

 

 

20161216_000909.jpg

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)

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13 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

What documentation are you referring to? Documents to tell you that the car is missing the original engine and transmission and an aftermarket A.C. was added, with missing build sheet and Protect-O Plate? Documentation is used to prove the car has all the equipment that it left the factory with and to verify all the numbers match. Yes it's a nice modified car, that's it.

If the car was assembled in Canada, or sold new in Canada, the Production Order is available from Vintage Vehicle Services: https://www.vintagevehicleservices.com/

 

Craig

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It's a resto-mod. Price accordingly.

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Thanks for all the replies. My friend Ray is very appreciative of the expertise of forum members. Now it is decision time!!!

 

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Tell your friend that the "mistake" one could make, would be to buy a project Chevelle with little proof of muscle car status, and then spend several years and tens of thousands of dollars to restore it. As Matt said, this car is priced at about half the cost of a restoration. The other "mistake" would be to pay this kind of a price, thinking he could flip it for a quick profit. If he/she buys it to enjoy, and drives it for several years...the purchase price won't matter anyway. 

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1 hour ago, Robert G. Smits said:

Thanks for all the replies. My friend Ray is very appreciative of the expertise of forum members. Now it is decision time!!!

 

 

Please let us know what Ray's decision is, and, if he decides to buy, how it all works out.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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On 2/5/2020 at 11:05 AM, lump said:

The other "mistake" would be to pay this kind of a price, thinking he could flip it for a quick profit. If he/she buys it to enjoy, and drives it for several years...the purchase price won't matter anyway. 

Ray is looking for a long term car to drive ,participate in local shows and enjoy for years.  He is not a flipper.  He put his non SS Chevelle up for sale yesterday so I think he is serious about this car if he can get the OK from his wife.  Thanks again to everyone.

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You're very welcome, Robert. 

 

The only caution that I might mention now, would be to forewarn your friend of the potential disappointment which can sometimes happen when car show attendees may constantly ask your friend things like, "Is this a REAL SS, or a 'clone?'" And then, "Do you have a build sheet or Protecto-Plate?" For SOME folks this can grow tiresome, making them feel like they should explain their car's story again and again, and almost apologize if they cannot prove their muscle car is "real.". If you allow it to get to you, it can rob the enjoyment of going to car shows.

 

Sadly, too many self-appointed experts seem to think it is their sacred duty to walk around car shows, examine whichever makes/models they know a little bit about,  and then proceed to pronounce each feature or component of such vehicles as "right," or "incorrect," as though they know everything about every such model ever made. They often speak loudly enough that  nearby folks will hopefully be impressed with the "tremendous knowledge" that the self-appointed expert must apparently possess. These folks inevitably ask about documentation...even though they often don't even have a car of their own...or at least not one that is up and running and at the show that day! 

 

I would tell him to answer them, "Yeah, it's real, and yes, I have documentation." Then forget those people, and get back to enjoying your car.  

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6 minutes ago, lump said:

The only caution that I might mention now, would be to forewarn your friend of the potential disappointment which can sometimes happen when car show attendees may constantly ask your friend things like, "Is this a REAL SS, or a 'clone?'" And then, "Do you have a build sheet or Protecto-Plate?" For SOME folks this can grow tiresome, making them feel like they should explain their car's story again and again, and almost apologize if they cannot prove their muscle car is "real.". If you allow it to get to you, it can rob the enjoyment of going to car shows.

 

Sadly, too many self-appointed experts seem to think it is their sacred duty to walk around car shows, examine whichever makes/models they know a little bit about,  and then proceed to pronounce each feature or component of such vehicles as "right," or "incorrect," as though they know everything about every such model ever made. They often speak loudly enough that  nearby folks will hopefully be impressed with the "tremendous knowledge" that the self-appointed expert must apparently possess. These folks inevitably ask about documentation...even though they often don't even have a car of their own...or at least not one that is up and running and at the show that day! 

 

I would tell him to answer them, "Yeah, it's real, and yes, I have documentation." Then forget those people, and get back to enjoying your car.  

 

This. I always hoped it was just me as a dealer who seemed to attract these guys who would pick a car to pieces then walk away like I was committing a crime. I'm saddened to hear that they're ubiquitous.

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Question: My second car was a 1970 SS 396 Chevelle that I purchased used when I was 19 (for somewhere between 700 - 800 dollars, as I recall.) This was back in the late 70's when they weren't worth much as running used cars, so there weren't really a lot of clones out there fooling people. My car had all the SS badges in all the correct places - exterior and interior - and it had the 396 w/ the 325 hp sticker on the engine, and some sort of sticker somewhere for the limited slip rear end (again, as I recall.) The appointments seemed correct, too - bucket seats, console and shifter...and the famous early 70's power bulge in the hood. Can't remember if it had a tach, but I think it might've.

 

One thing it didn't have, however, was the very conspicuous wide body striping  that I see on all 70 SS's today. (Back then, too.) My car could've been repainted, but I figured it was original paint because the finish wasn't in real great shape and the car was only 8 or 9 years old. So, did the factory or dealerships ever sell 1970 Super Sport Chevelles without the body striping? (My car was dark green, exterior and interior.)

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50 minutes ago, lump said:

You're very welcome, Robert. 

 

The only caution that I might mention now, would be to forewarn your friend of the potential disappointment which can sometimes happen when car show attendees may constantly ask your friend things like, "Is this a REAL SS, or a 'clone?'" And then, "Do you have a build sheet or Protecto-Plate?" For SOME folks this can grow tiresome, making them feel like they should explain their car's story again and again, and almost apologize if they cannot prove their muscle car is "real.". If you allow it to get to you, it can rob the enjoyment of going to car shows.

 

Sadly, too many self-appointed experts seem to think it is their sacred duty to walk around car shows, examine whichever makes/models they know a little bit about,  and then proceed to pronounce each feature or component of such vehicles as "right," or "incorrect," as though they know everything about every such model ever made. They often speak loudly enough that  nearby folks will hopefully be impressed with the "tremendous knowledge" that the self-appointed expert must apparently possess. These folks inevitably ask about documentation...even though they often don't even have a car of their own...or at least not one that is up and running and at the show that day! 

 

I would tell him to answer them, "Yeah, it's real, and yes, I have documentation." Then forget those people, and get back to enjoying your car.  

 

I answer "Hell, I don't care what it is, I just thought it looked neat and I like driving it."  Being flippant to such folks caused them to huff and puff and walk away, as if they are offended that you don't enjoy their tiresome approach.

 

Its easy to identify those folks from the ones that are really enjoyable to speak with. 

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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32 minutes ago, JamesR said:

Question: My second car was a 1970 SS 396 Chevelle that I purchased used when I was 19 (for somewhere between 700 - 800 dollars, as I recall.) This was back in the late 70's when they weren't worth much as running used cars, so there weren't really a lot of clones out there fooling people. My car had all the SS badges in all the correct places - exterior and interior - and it had the 396 w/ the 325 hp sticker on the engine, and some sort of sticker somewhere for the limited slip rear end (again, as I recall.) The appointments seemed correct, too - bucket seats, console and shifter...and the famous early 70's power bulge in the hood. Can't remember if it had a tach, but I think it might've.

 

One thing it didn't have, however, was the very conspicuous wide body striping  that I see on all 70 SS's today. (Back then, too.) My car could've been repainted, but I figured it was original paint because the finish wasn't in real great shape and the car was only 8 or 9 years old. So, did the factory or dealerships ever sell 1970 Super Sport Chevelles without the body striping? (My car was dark green, exterior and interior.)

 

Yes, the SS stripes were optional, although most people seem to prefer them today. I have no idea how many were built with stripes vs. no stripes when they were new, but I'm sure they were popular even back then. I'm sure your car was legit--nobody was faking these cars back in the '70s.

 

Here's a real-deal 1970 Chevelle SS we recently sold with stripe delete (which is how it came, although it did have a white vinyl top originally, which I'm glad is gone). While I like the clean no-stripes look most of the time, I think black stripes would have looked great on this car.

 

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